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Research Anywhere

Citation and Academic Integrity

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a citation is: 

  1. A reference providing information about where a particular quotation, text, etc., is to be found; a bibliographical reference.  
  2. The action or an act of quoting or referring to a passage, text, author, legal precedent, etc., esp. as an authority or in support of an argument; quotation. 
  3. A cited passage, a quotation.

There are several other definitions, but these three are the ones that relate to reading, writing and research. 

Every citation has two parts.  The in-text citation, which could be a footnote or parenthetical note and are found embedded in the text of the paper or report, and the reference list (also called bibliography or works cited), which goes at the end of the paper or report. 

"citation, n.". OED Online. March 2017. Oxford University Press. http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/33486? (accessed March 15, 2017).

While doing research, citations can be useful for... 

  • Figuring out what the source is - a book? journal article? book review? 
  • Assessing the source to see if you want to read it:  is it timely? On topic? From an appropriate discipline? Scholarly? 
  • Linking like ideas together, or finding other sources on that topic.
  • Following the development of an idea over time.
  • If the direct links to the full text of an article or e-book aren't working, you can use the information in the citation to find that full text in other ways. 

When reading, use citations to...

  • Assess the scholarship of what you're reading. Are they citing relevant scholarly sources in their discipline? 
  • Check the facts.  Follow the citation to the original source of the idea.  Does your interpretation agree? 
  • Assess the proof.  Are the citations to credible, relevant sources that provide adequate proof for the author's arguments? 

When writing, you use citations to: 

  • Demonstrate your scholarship:  cite relevant, scholarly articles in your discipline to boost your credibility and demonstrate your research process. 
  • Invite discussion:  citations link your ideas with those that came before, and allow your reader to check your interpretation of those ideas.
  • Supply evidence:  cite the sources that provide your evidence and you add their credibility to yours. 
  • Demonstrate your effort:  proper citations indicate where you've used other people's ideas, and where you use your own.  They show your reader what you've read, something about your thought process to get to your thesis, and that you did the work yourself.  

MLA is the most commonly used style in the discipline of English and Literature.  

  • Who: Modern Languages Association of America. 
  • When to use:  MLA style is most often used in the Humanities, especially literature studies and the study of languages. 
  • Features: MLA uses parenthetical footnotes and a Works Cited list. 

To view other styles, including UVic departmental style guides, see UVic Libraries' Style Guides page

Citation Management Tools

The citation management tools are especially useful when you are working with a large number of citations or when you wish to easily share the citations with others for your project. You will find here the tutorials and tips in using these tools such as Zotero and Mendeley.

Citation management at UVic: Managing your references

Looking for feedbacks about your paper? CAC can help

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This work by The University of Victoria Libraries is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License unless otherwise indicated when material has been used from other sources.